New York Islanders All-Star goaltender Ilya Sorokin is recognized as one of the best goaltenders in the NHL, gaining notoriety for all the right reasons. In addition to his highlight reel saves and shutouts (blanking opponents at a clip unmatched in league history), Sorokin is viewed as the best and most important player on head coach Lane Lambert's team.
However, it's something else that puts the 28-year-old among the top goaltenders in the league and among the most valuable in fantasy rankings - his consistency. While some drop Sorokin in their fantasy rankings because the Islanders aren't considered to be a "top tier" team for wins, others point to the resume he's built in three North American seasons, making him a sure bet in all other categories that carry weight for fantasy purposes.
Over the weekend, for the NHL.com 32 in 32 team-by-team previews, the writing staff spent time on the Islanders from a fantasy perspective, and the Vezina Finalist goaltender was understandably the focus. "Sorokin has something that's so rare among the netminders in this league, and that's consistency," said Ana Dua, NHL Fantasy on Ice analyst. "He's the most consistent fantasy goalie in the NHL. Across his first three seasons in the NHL, he's had, at worst, a .918 save percentage."
"He's the most consistent goalie in the entire league. I think he's the best fantasy goalie option heading into the season."- Ana Dua, NHL.com
Dua noted the Islanders' limitations but explained why the team in front of him doesn't change how she feels about Sorokin's fantasy outlook for the season. "We see these goalies; sometimes their stats get a little bit inflated because they're on these stacked teams with great offenses and great defenses, but Sorokin, regardless of the team around him. Regardless of the injuries, he always puts up phenomenal numbers."
While the panel all agreed on Sorokin's importance and fantasy value, they also unanimously felt that despite his greatness, it would not be enough to propel the Islanders back into the post-season. After the team signed Sorokin to an eight-year extension on July 1, GM Lou Lamoriello is hoping his netminder proves them right when it comes to individual stats and wrong when it comes to team success.